An Empirical Study of Patent Grant Rates as a Function of Race and Gender

57 American Business Law Journal 281 (2020)

39 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 26 Jul 2022

See all articles by W. Michael Schuster

W. Michael Schuster

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business

Evan Davis

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business

Kourtenay Schley

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business

Julie Ravenscraft

Missouri State University

Date Written: June 24, 2020

Abstract

In this article, we examine the rate at which patent applications are granted as a function of the inventor’s race and gender. Empirical analysis of more than 3.9 million United States applications finds minority and women applicants are significantly less likely to secure a patent relative to the balance of inventors. Further analysis indicates that a portion of this bias is introduced during prosecution at the Patent Office, independent of the quality of the application. Mechanisms underlying these disparities are explored. The paper concludes with a discussion of our results and their interaction with patent law, innovation policy, and employment trends.

Suggested Citation

Schuster, W. Michael and Davis, Evan and Schley, Kourtenay and Ravenscraft, Julie, An Empirical Study of Patent Grant Rates as a Function of Race and Gender (June 24, 2020). 57 American Business Law Journal 281 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3634987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3634987

W. Michael Schuster (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business ( email )

Brooks Hall
Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Evan Davis

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business ( email )

Dept. Of Human Devel. & Family Science
233 Human Sciences Bldg.
Stillwater, OK Oklahoma 74078-0001
United States

Kourtenay Schley

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business ( email )

College of Human Sciences
Human Development and Family Sciences
Stillwater, OK 74078
United States

Julie Ravenscraft

Missouri State University ( email )

901 South National Avenue
Springfield, MO 65897
United States

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